Home > Features > Moments in history >

Magic Moments of Indian tours to England Part 13 of 16 – Sachin Tendulkar’s miracle amidst ruins at Edgbaston

Sachin Tendulkar (batting picture) stood tall among the ruins at Edgbaston in 1996 © Getty Images
Sachin Tendulkar (batting picture) stood tall among the ruins at Edgbaston in 1996 © Getty Images

In this 16 part series, Arunabha Sengupta captures one special moment from each of the 16 previous Indian tours to England. In the 13th episode he looks back at Sachin Tendulkar’s magnificent 122 at Birmingham, as the rest of the batting collapsed around him.

Wizard in the wreckage

It was a snapshot of the Indian tale of the 1990s, and it was viewed across the world due to the magic of satellite television.

For the first time in history, Test match action travelled live from England to India. The Indian cricket fans already knew the plot by heart. The familiar batting debacle in the opening Test of the series. This time, they saw it. And along with they witnessed a miracle, a tale of counter-attacking brilliance never before conceptualised in Indian cricket.

On the third afternoon, Sachin Tendulkar  walked out to bat with the score reading 17 for two. Nothing special in that — something that happened so often in the nineties that it almost resembled the heart-warming clichés of musical comedies. Indeed, a Tendulkar masterpiece in the midst of disaster was oftentimes the glittering centrepiece of an otherwise sordid show. And this particular innings was the epitome of his brilliant solo acts.

The deficit was 99. Sanjay Manjrekar was injured, slotted to bat at No 7. The top of the batting was brittle with Vikram Rathore and Ajay Jadeja starting the proceedings. The middle, apart from Tendulkar, was almost a mockery, with Nayan Mongia at No 3, Sunil Joshi at No 6, captain Mohammad Azharuddin in the midst of a nightmarish loss of form.

The display of the batting order was as pathetic as the billing. The innings crumbled, falling like a pack of flimsy cards, resistance snuffed out Chris Lewis, Dominic Cork and Alan Mullally. And at the other end a spectacular structure was constructed with pieces of dazzling brilliance.

The bat of Tendulkar sparked fire and charm. The drives flowed, in the arc between cover and mid-on, scorching, classy and unstoppable. The cuts resounded across the ground. With each of the early strokes, there was an element of anticipation. The Indian fans knew that at least one flame would burn brightly amidst the smoke and embers of the decimated ruin.

This was new. There had been tales of many an act of Indian heroism, single-handed heroism on unfamiliar wickets overseas. Vijay Hazare, Poll Umrigar and, of course, Sunil Gavaskar  had all undergone such periods, the sole man standing between honour and surrender. But, no one had ever done so with such consistency and dominance. And on this day the dominance was complete.

Mongia left at 35. Mohammad Azharuddin lasted three balls, and did not bother the scorers. Joshi played a dozen more deliveries and scored 12 more than the skipper. Manjrekar limped his way through 48 minutes to score 18. Tendulkar continued to flow in his rushing waves of mastery.

It was a scintillating display, almost too good to last, but last it did. The master scored 122 that day, with 19 boundaries and a six. The next best score in the innings was Majrekar’s 18. The Indian challenge was almost over before he came in, was all but obliterated as he built his innings. The European Football championships kicked off on the same afternoon, creating a conflict of interest in the community of sports fans. But the Tendulkar magic kept all interested and glued to the seats and the screens. India were eight down, but some corner of the heart dared to hope — another hour of the man and maybe a miraculous win could be snatched.

And then he mistimed a pull off Chris Lewis and Graham Thorpe caught a steepling skier at midwicket. Tendulkar walked back — ninth out at 208. With him departed hope, and much of the crowd.

Yes, many had gone to see Tendulkar and left with his dismissal. It was often that way. Because, without Sachin Tendulkar, there would be no game at all.

What followed

The rest of the batting, aided by 14 extras, could manage just 97. Hence, India’s second innings stopped at 219. It left the Englishmen 121 to win, and they got there easily enough — losing just two wickets.

The next Test at Lord’s saw the epochal debuts of Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly. It is believed to be a watershed moment for Indian cricket. However, for sheer magic, there have been few innings like the Tendulkar show on that balmy Saturday afternoon.

Brief scores:

India 214 (Javagal Srinath 52; Dominic Cork 4 for 61) and 219 (Sachin Tendulkar 122; Chris Lewis 5 for 72) lost to England 313 (Nasser Hussain 128; Javagal Srinath 4 for 103, Venkatesh Prasad 4 for 71) and 121 for 2 (Mike Atherton 53*) by 8 wickets.

(Arunabha Sengupta is a cricket historian and Chief Cricket Writer at CricketCountry.He writes about the history and the romance of the game, punctuated often by opinions about modern day cricket, while his post-graduate degree in statistics peeps through in occasional analytical pieces. The author of three novels, he can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/senantix)

World T20 League 2014

Sep 18, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Mohali

World T20 League 2014

Sep 19, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Raipur

World T20 League 2014

Sep 20, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Mohali

World T20 League 2014

Sep 20, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Mohali

World T20 League 2014

Sep 21, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

More

World T20 League 2014

Sep 17, 2014  at Hyderabad

Kolkata Knight Riders won by 3 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 16, 2014  at Raipur

Northern Knights won by 6 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 16, 2014  at Raipur

Lahore Lions won by 55 runs

World T20 League 2014

Sep 14, 2014  at Raipur

Mumbai Indians won by 9 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 14, 2014  at Raipur

Northern Knights won by 72 runs

Photos

West Indies vs Bangladesh, 2nd Test at Gros Islet

Videos

Anderson plays golf with Jaguar competition winners

Glenn Maxwell, Thisara Perera guide Kings XI Punjab to 5-wicket victory against Hobart Hurricanes in CLT20 2014

Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) vs Hobart Hurricanes CLT20 2014 Match 2: Hobart Hurricanes’ likely XI

Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) vs Hobart Hurricanes CLT20 2014 Match 2: KXIP’s likely XI

Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) vs Hobart Hurricanes CLT20 2014 Match 2: Key battles

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) vs Chennai Super Kings (CSK) CLT20 2014 Match 1: Highlights

Bangladesh vs West Indies Bangladesh vs West Indies 2014 Champions League T20 Champions League T20 2014 Chennai Super Kings CLT20 CLT20 2014 Kolkata Knight Riders Lahore Lions Mumbai Indians Northern Knights Pakistan Southern Express West Indies West Indies vs Bangladesh 2014

Glenn Maxwell, Thisara Perera guide Kings XI Punjab to 5-wicket victory against Hobart Hurricanes in CLT20 2014

Kings XI Punjab vs Hobart Hurricanes, 2nd match of CLT20 2014: Glenn Maxwell dismissed by Evan Gulbis

Kings XI Punjab vs Hobart Hurricanes, 2nd match of CLT20 2014: Manan Vohra dismissed by Ben Laughin

Kings XI Punjab vs Hobart Hurricanes, 2nd match of CLT20 2014: David Miller out for a duck

CLT20 2014 Kings XI Punjab vs Hobart Hurricanes: Wriddhiman Saha dimissed by Doug Bollinger

Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2014: Kings XI Punjab’s batting gets the extra punch with Thisara Perera’s inclusion

Michael Clarke’s injury woes affect Australia’s long-term plans

Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) vs Hobart Hurricanes CLT20 2014 Match 2: Hobart Hurricanes’ likely XI

Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) vs Hobart Hurricanes CLT20 2014 Match 2: KXIP’s likely XI

Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) vs Hobart Hurricanes CLT20 2014 Match 2: Key battles

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

636 Posts | 8 Fans

Video highlights: Ander Russell 58 for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) vs Chennai Super Kings (CSK) CLT20 2014

Salman vs SRK: Salman Khan’s six-pack abs fake, Shah Rukh Khan’s eight-pack is real!

Champions League T20 2014: Hobart Hurricanes recover from early jitters to post 144/6 against Kings XI Punjab

Harshad Chopda: I don’t think people know me by my face

Qubool Hai: Will Seher change her ways for Rehaan?

Apple modifies iPhones, iPads access without user authorization

Expert tips to reduce stress and keep your heart healthy

Heart disease in India — 6 shocking facts you should know

Motorola Moto 360 gets listed on Flipkart

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here